2017 Golden Slipper: Full runner-by-runner preview and tips for two-year-old scamper

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert


20 Have your say

    The Golden Slipper has lost a little bit of its magic after splitting with the old HE Tancred Stakes. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    The Golden Slipper has stood the test of time as one of the “big four” of Australian racing, the only Sydney race to hold the status.

    Although, if the Melbourne Racing Club gets its way with making the Caulfield Cup a weight-for-age race, I’ll personally rally for that race to get kicked out of the big four. The Queen Elizabeth at Randwick can take its place.

    This year’s mad scamper for the juveniles is the most open in recent memory, with so many mixed formlines, all complicated by the wet tracks Sydney has encountered in recent times, and the certainty of another one on Saturday.

    The fillies do look to have the whip hand at this stage, but do punters have the right ones at the top of the market?

    1. Pariah
    Pariah is one of four horses contesting this after running in the Blue Diamond. He was second there after never being closer than three wide in a handy position thanks to drawing a middle barrier, albeit not working hard.

    There was no other horse you wanted to be on at the 300m. He was nutted late by the flying filly Catchy, and his form has been franked by Tulip, who won the Magic Night last week, but was a good two lengths behind him in the Diamond.

    2. Veranillo
    Veranillo is one of three or four colts coming into this from the Todman, depending on whether Showtime as second emergency gets a run. It is not seen as the “A” form with the shortest of them at $21.

    Veranillo is a workmanlike colt who will be honest, but hasn’t shown enough to suggest he can beat them all on a wet track.

    3. Trapeze Artist
    It was all honours to Trapeze Artist winning the Black Opal in Canberra last start. He did a little bit of work early but then kicked clear in the straight, denying the backmarkers any chance of running him down.

    It was a stylish victory, and his fourth to Invader the start prior ties him into the B form for the Slipper.

    4. Single Bullet
    Single Bullet earnt his place in the field with a win in the Pago Pago Stakes last week, so comes in fit and in form. It was an on-pace dominated race, but he was tough all the way to the line, enjoying a dog-fight to claim honours.

    His stablemate She Will Reign is one of the favourites, but he’ll give a decent account of himself.

    5. Diamond Tathagata
    Diamond Tathagata comes in off his win in the Skyline Stakes, where one of his victims was Single Bullet, who won the Pago Pago last week, so the form has been franked.

    That win was on a heavy track, and he also has a (well-beaten) second to She Will Reign on rain affected ground too. He got up off the canvas after looking a beaten horse early in the straight last time, so he’s got heart.

    6. Trekking
    Trekking was well handled by Trapeze Artist in the Black Opal, but certainly caught the eye late barrelling down the outside. With the anticipated pressure a Golden Slipper usually brings, he’ll get back from a wide draw and make up ground in the straight.

    If you like the horse, back him for the Sires or the Champagne instead of this.

    7. Invader
    Invader went down in a photo in the Todman Stakes, to his stablemate Gunnison which isn’t here, trying valiantly to pick him up late but not quite getting there.

    He was beaten three lengths behind Houtzen when he met her up on the Gold Coast back in January, but looks like he will get through the ground okay. One of many you could entertain for trifecta’s and first fours.

    8. Menari
    Menari started short favourite in the Todman Stakes, but was only plain out of the barriers and settled back rather than in an anticipated forward position. Tim Clark took off early around the field to get to the best ground on the outside rail first, and then tried to sustain a 400m run but the horse hit a wall 200m from home.

    He’s probably the likeliest chance out of that race, given he showed acceleration for a couple of hundred metres before the mid-race work told, but it’s hard to say whether he was comfortable in the conditions.

    9. Catchy
    The unbeaten Blue Diamond winner hasn’t won by big margins in three of her four career wins, but she does it the hard way for a quality two-year-old by settling back in her races.

    Her win in the Diamond was stunning, jumping out of the ground late after spotting Pariah the best part of three lengths at the 200m. It was the win of a special horse, and Tulip’s win last week only enhanced her claims. Craig Williams retains the ride.

    10. Formality
    Formality was third in the Blue Diamond, behind Catchy and Pariah, after a nice run on the speed thanks to her brilliant barrier manners.

    She doesn’t have the class of her stablemate Catchy, but she won’t go down without a fight and will get to run her own race from an inside draw.

    11. Tulip
    Tulip is the key runner that ties in some of the Melbourne and Sydney form. Fourth in the Blue Diamond, she has run and won in Sydney since, taking out the Magic Night last week on a soft track.

    She put in a bit of a grinding effort in the Diamond, but looked very comfortable on rain affected ground last Saturday when she didn’t have it easy in the run but put them away with authority. She’s a player.

    12. She Will Reign
    The long time Golden Slipper favourite had a little gloss taken off her last time out, when she tasted defeat for the first time in the Riesling Stakes.

    Ben Melham fell asleep at the wheel in the middle of the track when still idling at the 250m on She Will Reign, unaware than Frolic was sweeping down the outside with a withering burst.

    They gapped the rest there, and she is still going to be hard to beat, especially given we know she handles heavy tracks no worries.

    13. Frolic
    Frolic was the giant-killer in the Riesling, taking down She Will Reign thanks to a brilliant outside-rail hugging ride from Tommy Berry. He let this Michael Freedman filly smoke the pipe out the back of that field, before launching a sustained run through the slops.

    She’s drawn wide to repeat the dose again, but who knows, we may see Berry snag her back to last with the idea of saving ground on the inside if the field gets off the fence. She’s right in this.

    14. Teaspoon
    Teaspoon comes out of the Sweet Embrace that was run in inclement conditions at Randwick three weeks ago, where she put in a pleasing performance without ever looking the winner. Having had the run over 1200m on heavy ground will hold her in good stead, but it’s hard to see her winning.

    15. Houtzen
    The Golden Slipper favourite comes in off a lazy four length win carrying 63kgs up at Eagle Farm, which was off the back of a Magic Millions win where she crossed the field from the widest gate to go wire to wire.

    She did only beat Chauffeur and Madeenaty in that Magic Millions win, who are 60-1 shots in this event. It was the toughest field she’s faced, and by far her narrowest victory. She’ll jump and run along showing her usual speed, and defy all others to catch her.

    16. Madeenaty
    Madeenaty claimed the scalp of Single Bullet back in December at Wyong, and followed it up with a third to Houtzen on the Gold Coast, beaten three lengths. She’s had the bridging run in down Melbourne in-between times.

    She’ll go forward from a middle barrier, and with the hot Regan Bayliss on board, she’ll get every chance, but doesn’t look quite good enough to hold them all out unless she’s an absolute swimmer.

    17. Chauffeur (1st emerg)
    Chauffeur was favourite in the Black Opal won by Trapeze Artist, but had his chance and wasn’t good enough to outsprint the winner.

    18. Showtime (second emerg)
    There are worse 70-1 shots than Showtime if he gets a run. He’s been within two or three lengths of Pariah and She Will Reign earlier this prep, and was the only horse on inferior ground in the Todman, flying solo up the middle.

    19. The Mission (3rd emerg)
    His “mission” is to go back to restricted grade to try and get a win.

    The track will be wet and the sky will be grey. Some horses will handle it and some won’t. The speed will be hot, and the jockey’s will be fanning out for the best ground in the straight, each keen to give their horse clean running in order to snare a portion of the $3.5M on offer.

    2017 Golden Slipper Selections:

    1.Frolic 2. Tulip 3. Catchy 4. Houtzen

    The Golden Slipper is one of five Group 1’s on the Rosehill card. We’ll preview the Ranvet Stakes, the Rosehill Guineas and the Galaxy tomorrow, but before that, a quick peek at the George Ryder Stakes containing the mighty Winx.

    Winx put any heavy track doubts to bed last start when claiming the Chipping Norton with her usual authority. She probably didn’t put the expected margin on placegetters like Lasqueti Spirit and Who Shot Thebarman, but nor was she asked to do more than was necessary by Hugh Bowman.

    It’s a thrill to watch her every time she steps out, and while Chris Waller will insist there is a little question mark over stepping her back in trip, we know this is not the case.

    The connections of Chautauqua are to be applauded for stepping the grey flash up in distance and not shying away from Winx. He hasn’t won since his stunning victory at Sha Tin almost a year ago, but at least showed he is far from a spent force last start in the Canterbury Stakes.

    Tommy Berry was roasted in some quarters for his ride on Chautauqua in that race, allowing his mount to settled four lengths off the second last horses, and taking an inside run through inferior ground, but at last we saw something approaching the sprint home we expect.

    Le Romain conquered Chautauqua in the Canterbury, with Hauraki three lengths away in third. We can expect similar track conditions on Saturday, and these two will run well again. Le Romain is on the verge of becoming a star sprinter-miler in his own right, and may give Winx a moment’s pause at some stage.

    Tosen Stardom almost took down Black Heart Bart in the Futurity, over the Caulfield 1400m where that horse has now won three Group 1’s.

    Tosen Stardom was first-up there, while Black Heart Bart was rock-hard fit, so we can expect the ex-Japanese galloper to be a player in any Group 1 he contests. Black Heart Bart was a narrow second in the All Aged Stakes last Sydney autumn, so Tosen Stardom must be respected even if his heavy track credentials are unknown.

    2017 George Ryder selections:

    1.Winx 2.Le Romain 3.Chautauqua 4.Tosen Stardom

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 8:46am
      James Henville said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      I like menari and swr. Some comments:

      Trainer said tulip had come on since the blue diamond which was evidenced last sat.

      Tim Clark reported menari trabelled well in the wet in the stewards report but condition gave out as had interrupted prep and had contact with invader which hampered his run.

      Swr was in poor part of the track but I still wonder if the wet dampened (hahah) her brilliance?

      Houtzen been winning well but times haven’t shown she is that superior? Did well with big weight she is definitely a serious horse. She looked like she tailed off last 100m. Barrier and race pace work against her?

      Trekking huge run in black opal but was too far back. Just warming up? He is top shelf.

      • Columnist

        March 16th 2017 @ 10:39am
        Cameron Rose said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Agree on Trekking, he’s one I want to follow.

        SWR will take some beating, but I’m happy to pot the two favourites on this kind of track, albeit conceding they are obvious winning hopes.

        Menari certainly isn’t the worst at odds, but I’m sticking with the fillies this year.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 9:22am
      Razzar said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Racing in back half of field in the Golden Slipper with absolute bog conditions expected, will likely make it almost impossible to win from there. In those conditions there’s usually too much to do. Catchy will drop back, she is quite big with a big stride, big striders have been known to be generally poor wet trackers.
      At present with the above mentioned conditions predicted. I would find it hard to back anything under 6s right now. ? …Certainly watching the early races may glean more on how the track is, and plays.

      • Columnist

        March 16th 2017 @ 10:36am
        Cameron Rose said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

        I’m not so sure about that Razzar. Mossfun won from back in the field on a heavy track, and Phelan Ready did the same that I can recall? Not sure if there are others.

        But I agree, I think shooting for value is the best bet here.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 2:25pm
        no one in particular said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

        Dominic Beirne‏ @domran 20h20 hours ago
        @Punters @TRBHorseRacing 2): Past 28 years, 5 run on Heavy. 4/5 winners settled 2nd-half of field.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 3:45pm
          James Henville said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

          There is always pressure on up front so leaders can easily end up jogging on the spot in the last 100m

    • March 16th 2017 @ 2:21pm
      no one in particular said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

      Teaspoon was a huge e/w chance at the odds, but the barrier might do him in

    • March 16th 2017 @ 3:50pm
      Adam Page said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

      If you’ve looked at my Twitter feed, you’d know I am the number one ticketholder in the Trekking fan club. I think he’s a star in the making. Just wish he drew a gate here.

      • Columnist

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am
        Cameron Rose said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        I’ll be following him out of this, no doubt about it. Given the state of the track, I’m inclined to think barriers will be of little consequence.

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 8:08pm
      sheek said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:08pm | ! Report


      I’ve never understood the Golden Slipper’s ranking as one of the big four races in Australia.

      Well yes, I understand the stud connection,but then, that is important to other races as well.

      We’re a weird mob as it is, having two distance handicaps among our top four races.

      But to add the country’s top two-year-old race to that list. Crazy?

      It’s a bit like watching 12-year-olds run the Olympics 100m.

      What about the Queen Elizabeth? What about the Doncaster Mile? What about the Australian Cup? What about the Newmarket Sprint? What about the Australian Derby?

      I would consider all these races more worthy of higher status than the Golden Slipper.


      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:45pm
        no one in particular said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

        Any trainer will tell you it’s one of the hardest, if not the hardest, race in the country to win. It’s a challenge to get an inexperienced horse educated, fit, qualified, and peaking in such a short period of time. The jockeys will tell you also how hard it is as well.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 2:27am
      Curly said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:27am | ! Report

      I agree the Sipper is too highly rated. why a 2yo scamper, often rough as guts cause of greedy jocks and inexperienced horses, is rated anywhere time honoured races is a farce. but NSW needs a contender hey. the doncaster is the fourth horse of the apocalypse (for punters) in my opinion

      • Columnist

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:20am
        Cameron Rose said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Sheek and Curly,

        I sort of like the fact that it is one of the big four, given how ridiculous it is. There’s something perfect about Victoria being represented by the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup, while Sydney’s contender is the Slipper.

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 6:15pm
          sheek said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report


          I’ll forgive you on the basis you’ve probably been smoking some funny stuff.

          By all means have one ‘big 4’ race from Sydney.

          But make it the Doncaster, or Queen Elizabeth, or Australian Derby.

          Not the Slipper…..

          I would only accept the GS as part of a Chinese symbolic perfect 8.

          1. Melbourne Cup, 3200m hcp, Flemington, Melbourne.

          2. Caulfield Cup, 2400m hcp, Caulfield, Melbourne.

          3. Australian Derby, 2400m 3yo sw, Royal Randwick, Sydney.

          4. WS Cox Plate, 2040m wfa, Moonee Valley, Melbourne.

          5. Queen Elizabeth Stakes, 2000m wfa, Royal Randwick, Sydney.

          6. Doncaster Mile, 1600m hcp, Royal Randwick, Sydney.

          7. Newmarket Sprint, 1200m hip, Flemington, Melbourne.

          8. Golden Slipper, 1200m 2y0 sw, Rosehill, Sydney.

          Unintentionally, that’s four races each from Melbourne & Sydney.

          Then there’s the upcoming The Everest, TJ Smith Sk, Epsom Mile, Stradbroke Hcp, Victorian Derby, Australian Cup, perhaps one of the mares races.

          Gee, there’s so many other good quality races.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 7:28pm
            michael steel said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            Interesting. I talked to Razzar about possibly writing an article about this but The Golden Slipper for all it’s imperfections is part of the big four. It’s the restructure of the Caulfield Cup which is the current issue.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 9:05pm
              no one in particular said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

              RV is playing with fire if they mess around with the Cups. If they change the conditions and push the dates back then V’Landys is prepared to back up the truck and boost The Metropolitan. It might be a low race now, but it won’t be if it has prizemoney of 6 million. That and Everest same day

          • March 17th 2017 @ 8:40pm
            no one in particular said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

            Amusing that a race run at the worst track in Australia hosts one of the Big 4. I wouldn’t let my dog run at caulfield

            The Doncaster is the best race in the county. The Melbourne Cup isn’t generally a good quality race, but it is the biggest. The Cox Plate’s biggest issue is it’s timing. You get 4yo’s contesting the Cups instead of the Cox Plate before the handicapper catches up to them, and 3yo not quite seasoned for it. It’s why the QE has the potential to be a better race – genuine WFA horses, 3yo off the the Derby, Doncaster winner.

            I think the Darley is the best Sprint, ahead of the TJ Smith and then the Newmarket.

            Epsom, Vic derby and Australian Cup (post 2005) are no one near the quality of the top races.